Enemy of the People | Red Tape Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Enemy of the People Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 30 2009

Interesting concept, rocky execution. Playwright Robert L. Oakes transforms Henrik Ibsen's 1882 drama about mass hysteria and social corruption into a contemporary environmental morality play, and its righteous crusader Dr. Stockman into Tammy, a biology grad student who discovers that her small town's economic mainstay, the local spa, is ruinously polluting the area's groundwater. Oakes flattens the nuances of Ibsen's text into conventional ecological pieties, and then spins them out into a bizarre climax in which the characters spout undigested postmodernist claptrap about the "desert of the real." Ambitious director James Palmer and his gutsy cast craft many moments of humor and dread. But the show struggles to create a consistent tonal approach, and serves as a warning about the perils of messing with a master. --Leon Hilton

Price: $10-$20


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